Can You Ever Really Bond With An Older Child?

When it comes to adopting older children there’s often a belief that, because they’ve been through so much, it’s impossible to form a healthy bond with them. We’ve discovered something different.

Mom and daughter embracing
In our 15 years of parenting we have had the honor of participating in the lives of 23 children. Most of them returned home or went on to be adopted by their forever families, eight of them have stayed forever. Before I became a parent of an older child, I didn’t think much about bonding and attachment. I am attached to my own parents, brothers and sisters. I have not personally had reason to question my place or belonging in the world. When we adopted our first daughter at birth, we bonded quite naturally.

How To Safeguard Your Marriage While Raising Children With Special Needs.

Often, when you’re in the trenches of parenting children with major special needs, the most important relationship you have begins to suffer. How do you keep your marriage healthy in the midst of very difficult circumstances with your children?

Interracial couple holding hands at wedding

I met my husband 20 years ago this winter. I saw him across the lobby of the student center at our college campus. I hoped he would notice me and when he did I shook his hand and smiled the warmest smile I could muster on that cold January evening. He asked me out a few weeks later and I was excited to get to know him. From that moment on, we enjoyed spending as much time together as possible. We studied at the library, took walks around campus, visited the art museum where admission was free. We didn’t need to do anything fancy. Time together was all we wanted.

3 Reasons Traditional Parenting Doesn’t Work With Kids From Trauma.

If you’ve parented a child from a traumatic past for any length of time, you already know that traditional parenting techniques do not work. But, have you ever stopped to consider why, or what you could do differently?

Sad little girl sitting in a corner

Kristin and I both grew up in traditional households, with parents who used traditional techniques in raising us both. There were rules and restrictions, guidelines and boundaries. And if said rules, restrictions, guidelines and boundaries were crossed, BAM, consequences were enforced. No questions asked. From all accounts, these techniques worked. We both grew up to be responsible adults who knew the difference between right and wrong. But, we also never endured significant trauma as children.

Because, I’m Not Ready To Talk About My Child’s Story.

Sometimes you feel that you owe the world an explanation. You don’t! You feel your child’s choices, behavior, or lack of social interaction, warrant a full-blown summary. They don’t. Here’s why…

Diverse group of people holding question signs

I’m going to do my best to give you, foster and adoptive parent who feels isolated, a voice right now. You who’ve grown tired of fielding question after question after question about your child’s special need, recent public outburst, suspension, arrest or social shortcomings. I’m going to do everything in my power to walk in your shoes and let you know you are not alone. I want you to know, as we begin, that your family’s business is nobody else’s business on the face of God’s green earth!

You Know What Surprises Me Most As A Foster Parent?

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by our good friend Lisa Qualls. She is a writer, speaker, mom of 12, and the creator of One Thankful Mom, where she writes about motherhood, adoption, faith, and grief. Lisa is a mom by birth and adoption. Along with her husband Russ, their adoption journey has been marked by joy as well as challenges of trauma and attachment. You can visit her blog here, and connect with her on Facebook here.

Out of all the twists, turns, triumphs, and defeats that are often a part of the foster care journey, there are beautiful blessings in disguise when you least expect it.

Curvy autumn road

You know what surprises me most – what I would never have expected? The relationship we have with my Zoe’s* family.

Last week Zoe’s mom had one of her regular weekly visits with Zoe and her sisters, but this time it was at our house. When I arrived to pick her up, she had ingredients for a meal packed in grocery bags, ready to cook for her kids when she got here. The little girls were dropped off by their foster mom and quickly ran outside to play with my son while their mom cooked and chatted with Zoe at the kitchen island.

A little over a year ago, I had the honor of joining together with several other writers, speakers, bloggers, and influencers at Disney’s headquarters in Los Angeles, California. During our time together we were given the opportunity to speak into several projects Disney had recently released. One of those projects was the Dream Big, Princess campaign.

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How Parenting Children From Hard Places Can Be Blessings In Disguise.

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by our good friend Lisa Qualls. She is a writer, speaker, mom of 12, and the creator of Thankful Moms, where she writes about motherhood, adoption, faith, and grief. Lisa is a mom by birth and adoption. Along with her husband Russ, their adoption journey has been marked by joy as well as challenges of trauma and attachment. You can visit her blog here, and connect with her on Facebook here.

Holidays are wonderful family times, but holidays can also be are hard – especially for families with kids from “hard places.” The pressure of special events, increased anxiety, and disruption of schedules due to school vacations, can sometimes bring about true crisis.

qualls-family

Four years ago, I wrote a post to my readers on Christmas Eve. It was early in the morning; my family was sleeping and snow was falling outside the windows in the pre-dawn hour. I’d been silent, unable to write for several days as I tried to make sense of the crisis we found ourselves in.

Discovering ‘A Different Beautiful’ On The Parenting Journey.

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post from our good friend Courtney Westlake. She is the author of the newly released book A Different Beautiful. She lives in Illinois with her husband Evan and two children, Connor and Brenna. After Brenna was born with a severe skin disorder, Courtney began chronicling family life and experiences raising a child with physical differences and special needs on her blog. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Sometimes the life we dreamed of having when we first started out on the parenting journey doesn’t turn out the way we envisioned it. In the midst of this, there’s an opportunity to discover a different beautiful.

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When my husband, Evan, and I found out we were expecting a little girl, joining her big brother Connor in our family, we had a vision of pigtails. We pictured a little girl chasing her brother around the house, with blond pigtails bouncing on the sides of her head.